The Feather Pillow By Horacio Quiroga: What Is The Significance Of The Title? How Does The Main Character Change? What Is Repeated In The Selection? What General Statements About Life Are Made? What Is The Primary Theme Of The Selection?


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Rebecca Hunt answered
'The Feather Pillow' is a short story written by Horacio Quiroga, a man who is considered to be the first South American short story writer. To answer your questions, it is best to look at each one in turn.

  • What is the significance of the title?
The title 'The Feather Pillow' refers to the pillow that the main character Alicia was sleeping on. After her death, that was suspected influenza, the servant and husband discover that hidden within the feathers was a parasite. This parasite was in fact the reason that Alicia died as it sucked on her blood every night.

  • How does the main character change?
Alicia changes from a happy newly wed who feels slightly ill with influenza into a shell of her former self. She is unable to move or walk and begins having hallucinations throughout the night.

  • What is repeated in the selection?
Throughout the story there are references made to the senses. There are many mentions of Alicia feeling cold and chills. What Alicia can touch and feel is repeated throughout the story, as is the warmth or cold of her blood. Her life is described as bleeding away, a metaphor that later reveals itself to be true as the parasite is literally taking all of her blood.

  • What general statements about life are made?
It is argued that the author is trying to make a statement about a love that is not fully realized; even in the face of death. The background of the story is said to revolve around Quiroga's own experience with women, many who died on him.

  • What is the primary theme of the selection?
The theme of 'The Feather Pillow', like most of Quiroga's work is about life and death. The tragedy of the bride's life being drained away so slowly could be said to have a much more significant meaning.

Studying each of these questions in detail makes it possible to get a better grasp of the meaning behind the story as a whole.

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